Thursday, February 27, 2014

Responding to Criticism

Earlier today, I received the following comment on my post KardashiAAAAAARGH:

"Stumbled upon your blog when looking for dinosaur cakes... read your first latest post how you didn't enjoy being judged for being a stay at home mom - yet, here you are judging somebody else? Think about it... just sayin'"

In irritation, I deleted the comment and went about my merry way.

Except I didn't.

I kept thinking about how my annoyance at Kim Kardashian reportedly losing 50 pounds in her first four months post-partum was so clearly different from Amy Glass (aka Chrissy Stockton) saying that SAHMs are unexceptional, average, and unimportant.

So, new reader Ariane, I thought about it, and here are my thoughts:

1. Kim Kardashian is not only a public figure, but a public figure who has invited our scrutiny into every facet of her life. I, and other young women staying home with their children, are just trying to live our lives. Ms. Kardashian, by courting publicity, has also asked for judgment of her actions by anyone and everyone. Moms staying home with their children have done nothing to get Amy Glass's notice or vitriol.

2. Ms. Glass decided to judge an entire swath of the population because she saw their choice--to stay home and raise children, which, like laundry, MUST BE DONE by someone--as completely invalid. I judged Kim Kardashian because her unnecessary focus on her body does harm to herself, her bond with her child, her child, and our society. (To be fair, I've since seen further information that made it clear that Kim K did not actually lose 50 pounds in 4 months, and the bikini photo on the cover of the magazine I saw was from before Kim had North. So clearly some of my irritation with her was misplaced and should have directed at the media that places such unrealistic expectations on women).

3. I took umbrage at a troll who threw bombs at something that is important to me, and then hid behind the half-baked excuse that "I think of all my opinions as in transit. None of them are destinations." But taking umbrage at Amy Glass does not mean that I abdicate my prerogative to judge others for decisions they make that are truly harmful. To me, that is like saying I can't judge a family for whipping their child with a belt, or using prayer instead of doctors for curable illnesses, or pushing their child into show business, just because I didn't like someone else judging me for staying home with my boys.

I own my decision to stay home with my kids, just like I own my judgment of Kim Kardashian's conflation of fame and beauty with worth. She is doing harm to her own family and others, and I judge her for it. And that's okay with me.

4. Finally, mea culpa, a little bit. Ariane, you did me a favor in forcing me to re-read my post about Kim Kardashian. As much as I am perfectly comfortable with judging her, I did see that I was also remarkably snarky about aspects of her person, looks, and life that have nothing to do with harmful choices. I probably shouldn't have done that. Growing up, my mom taught me to be a mensch, and kindness was so important to my dad that he had his financial planning company add it as a fourth guiding principle.

You are right to point out that I was not being particularly kind or mensch-like to Kim Kardashian, who despite all of her fame, is still a real person with real feelings who does not deserve snarkiness. Being bitchy might be fun and funny, but it is not who I was raised to be--nor is it something I want to model for my sons.

So, while I still completely stand behind my judgment of Kim Kardashian's harmful self-exploitation of her looks, I should be more circumspect regarding the parts of her life about which my opinion does not matter.

I hope this makes things clearer.


  1. Awww.. Sorry to insinuate that you are like Glass. That is not the case. There is so much judgement - us mom's have to stick together and support each other! No more mommy wars!

    Anyway, yes, Kim K is in the media, but she is still a mom. And we really don't know what kind of mom. The media is so one sided.

    Sorry if I caused any drama.

  2. And sorry you viewed my comments as an attack or criticism. I should have explained how I just want us women to support each other - despite our differences (parenting, aesthetics, religion, etc). We need to help rise each other up, not tear each other down. Your post just mad me sad, that is all. Good luck to you and your family.

  3. No drama, just some introspection.

  4. Well, there's being a Mom and there's being a Mom. Wonder if the Cleaning Lady, the Nanny, the Gardener for the Kardashians feel that Kim K is just a regular Mom. Hmm. Sounds like you did a bit of judging of your own, Ariane.Oh well, what is the old saying,"to err is human, to forgive is divine.' I guess most of us could be human and divine.